The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search

Firefighters air grievances at South Hill meeting

Nearly a year after members of the South Hill Volunteer Fire Department ousted longtime fire chief Rosser Wells, members of the department say he and town officials are harassing them…


Mecklenburg supes get draft budget plan for $240.5 million, but no tax hike


Comets slip past Bassett

Pick up 1-0 victory in a pitcher’s duel





Whitt, Clayton join wrestling hall of fame

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Whitt, left, and Clayton / August 12, 2020

Bluestone High School’s wresting coach Troy Moore hosted a virtual awards ceremony last week, live-streamed on the team’s Facebook page, and announced the induction of former coach Nealie Whitt III and 2020 graduate Neil Clayton Jr into the wrestling program’s Hall of Fame. Both honorees are inaugural members of the Bluestone Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Moore credited Whitt for having the dream to start a wrestling program at Bluestone. Moore also recognized former long-time Baron athletic director Ed Crowder for his work in helping Whitt achieve his dream.

Due to Whitt’s diligence, the program kicked off in 2014. Moore noted Whitt’s relationships with the kids was quite special.

“Coach Whitt had a larger-than-life presence around the kids,” Moore said. “His leadership was unmatched.”

Moore spoke of his close relationship with Whitt and his own learning experiences from the former coach. The Bluestone program has grown to be a competitive presence in VHSL Class 2 state wrestling, sending five grapplers to the state tournament over the years. Bluestone’s program started out as a club sport as required by the Virginia High School League.

Taking pride in announcing Whitt’s induction, Moore said, “[you’re] officially a member of the Bluestone Wresting Hall of Fame.”

Members of the 2014 Bluestone Wrestling Club were coach Nealie Whitt III, assistant coach Josh Lockhart, Pravin Garskof, Wayna Crowder, Casey Davis, Darius Mosley, Michael Driggs, Hunter Bass, Christian Bailey, Isiah Shelton, George Burwell, Matt Owen, Roderick Bass, Giovonia Mullins, Jamier Smth, Nakeam Clark, Brion Daniels, Tavon Bruce, Jackson Parker and Matthew Gilliand, manager.

Whitt is currently the director of high school operations at Falls Lake Academy in Butner, N.C.

The second inductee is Clayton, a recent Bluestone graduate. Clayton is a three-time James River District champion, two-time state wrestling finalist and the 2019 VHSL 220-pound state champion, as well as a 2020 VHSL state runner-up in Class 2 competition in the 220-pound ranks. Clayton also recorded regional championships.

Clayton only wrestled three seasons, yet qualified for state competition two of those three years, Moore noted in his remarks. The coach said in Clayton’s final season, the moment he will remember is his semi-final state match.

With three seconds left in the match and down 1-0, Clayton was able to get the pin and advance to the championship round. “Neil Clayton is the type of athlete every coach wants to have,” Moore said. “You’re a very gifted young man.”

Moore said he expected nothing but continued success for Clayton as he moves on to play football for Wooster College this season.

Since wrestlers aren’t awarded a trophy at state competition, Clayton’s photo was added to Bluestone’s trophy case to represent the Hall of Fame achievement.

Team awards were also presented to four outstanding student-athletes. Honorees were Landon Lyles, outstanding wrestler; Donnell Vaughn, The Baron Award; Hudson Moore, most improved; and Blake Bohannon, middle school wrestler of the year.

Speaking about Lyles, the coach said the wrestler held all the qualities coaches see in champions — “the young man never gives up.” Lyles has “more heart than anyone I’ve ever coached. His wrestling IQ is off the charts,” Moore continued.

As for Vaughn’s accomplishments, Moore credited the young wrestler with handling himself well, on and off the mat.

“He works hard and goes the extra mile to achieve success,” Moore said.

Moore added that Vaughn had faced some adversities in the second part of last season and came through quite well. “You carried yourself as a man,” Moore said. “Very proud of you.”

Moore’s award for most improved was a solid accomplishment. The coach recognized the consistent work ethic Hudson brings with him.

“Quite a jump from year one to year two,” said Moore, describing Hudson’s accomplishments during that time. The coach credited Hudson’s efforts away from the gym as a major reason of his success.

Lyles and Moore were VHSL honorable mention state honorees this past season.

One of the biggest awards went to the youngest wrestler represented in the group, with eighth grader Bohannon earning the middle school recognition.

Moore said without the middle school program the Baron wrestling team would suffer. He made the point that it takes a great deal of “courage” for a middle school student to take part on a high school team and know they have to compete at that level.

Moore said wrestling is a combative sport and can be intimidating, especially for a 13- or 14-year-old. He credited Bohannon and his three middle school teammates — Jamar Tisdale, Zach Simmons and Jason Boyd — with accepting the challenge.

“You put yourself out there, Blake,” Moore said.

Student-athletes lettering for the first time were Kevin Price, Donnell Vaughn, Dravion Nelson, Demarcus Nelson, and Elijah Dennis.

Second year letters were presented to Lyles, Moore, and Jason Terry. Jasmin Nunez and Clayton earned their third year letters.

Moore spoke of the opportunities wrestling had afforded him in his lifetime, especially in building character, and encouraged other students to give the sport a try. Moore said as far as a wrestling season happening this year, that is still undetermined.

“Quick update on the wrestling season, the school has not made any decisions on how the season will work,” Moore said. “The Virginia High School League has pushed the winter sports season out to Dec. 14 through Feb. 20 [but] that doesn’t mean that we will have a season,” Moore said. The coach said as soon as a decision was made, he’d share that information.

Advertising Flyer

Find out how you can reach more customers by advertising with The News & Record and The Mecklenburg Sun -- in print and online.